Edward Robertson Norton
Attended Clemson during 1938-1939 school year.
Conway, South Carolina
Parents were Dr. and Mrs James E. Norton, Sr
Army Air Force, First Lieutenant
452nd Bomber Squadron, 322nd Bomber Group, Medium
Air Medal, Purple Heart
Aug 18, 1920
May 17, 1943
Finding of Death - Pilot of B-26 bomber that crashed at sea. His body was never recovered. His twin brother James was co-pilot on the same aircraft.
Memorialized at Netherlands American Military Cemetery, Margraten, Netherlands, and at Lakeside Cemetery in Conway.
17th May 1943 Mission Target Ijmuiden
322 BG /450 & 452 SQ
Scheduled:- 11 B26’s
Aborted:- 41-18058 ER-S Capt. R D Stephens 450BS
Point of Entry:
Forced south of intended point of entry after being fired on by flak from German coastal convoy and flew over heavily defended Rozenburg island. Continued to target and subsequent fate. As the first flight flew over the sand dunes a hail of 20mm flak hit the lead B26 piloted by Lt. Col. Robert W Stillman, killing Lt. Resweber, the copilot. The plane snap rolled and crashed. Three severely injured crewmen were dragged from the wreckage by the Germans. A mile or two to the south the following flight also encountered heavy flak on landfall. Lt. Garrambone, leading the second element, could not maintain control after being hit and crashed into the Maas river; he and three of his crew survived. The surviving B26s headed between Delft and Rotterdam with Capt. Converse leading the first flight. Near Bdegraven, while carrying out violent evasive action, Converse collided with Lt. Wolfe who was leading the second element. Both B26s crashed in flames with only two survivors. Lt. Wurst’s aircraft, severely damaged by debris from the Â two colliding aircraft, bellylanded his unmanageable B26 into a field at Meije. All escaped although Sgt. Heski lost a foot. Now only the third element of the leading flight remained. Lt. F.H. Matthew, leading Lt. E.R. Norton and apparently lost, turned to join Lt. Col. Purinton’s flight, but Purinton too had no idea where he was. Forty five miles into Holland he decided to turn for home and his navigator, Lt. Jefferis, gave him a course of 2700. Almost simultaneously Jefferis reported that he had sighted the target. Bombs were dropped on what they thought the the Haarlem works, but it was in fact a gas holder in the suburbs of Amsterdam. Having climbed to bombing altitude, several Marauders failed to reduce height as they headed for the coast. Unknown to the crews they were heading directly towards Ijmuiden and its murderous flak barrage. Purinton’s bomber was hit, but he managed to ditch offshore near a fishing boat, manned by Germans. Jefferis was killed in the crash, but the rest of the crew were rescued to become prisoners of war. The Ijmuiden flak also claimed the bombers of Lt. Jones and Lt. Norton. One, with an engine on fire, turned back and crashed into the sea near Castricum, the other went into the sea a few miles west of Ijmuiden. Tail gunner Longworth was the only survivor from Norton’s B26 and Lt. Alaimo from Jones. Lt. Matthews and Capt. Crane had survived the Ijmuiden flak, and several miles apart headed for England. At 1218 hrs Capt. Crane was shot down into the sea by Feldwebel Niederreichholz of II/JG1 and at 1230 hrs Lt. Matthews was shot down into the sea by Ober-Feldwebel Winkler of 4/JG1. The only survivors of these two actions were S/Sgt. George W Williams and S/Sgt. Jesse H Lewis from Capt. Crane’s B26. They were picked up from their rubber dinghy on 22 May 1943 by a Royal Navy vessel.
1151 hrs Stillman Flak, crashed
1152 Garrambone Flak, crashed into Maas river
1158 Converse Mid air collision, crashed
1158 Wolfe Mid air collision, crashed
1158 Wurst Hit by debris from mid air collision, crashed
1212 Purinton Flak, ditched at sea
1213 Jones Flak, crashed at sea
1213 Norton Flak, crashed at sea
1218 Crane Shot into sea by enemy fighters
1230 Matthew Shot into sea by enemy fighters
Crew listed in order as pilot; copilot; bomb/nav, engineer/gunner, radio/gunner and tail gunner
2Lt. Edward R Norton 0-792299 MIA 450BS
2Lt. James A Norton 0-792300 KIA 450BS
Lt. Alvin X Zeindenfeld 0-662330 KIA 450BS
S/Sgt. Ralph H McDougall 11037539 KIA 450BS
S/Sgt. Harrison E Kegg 35353961 MIA 450BS
Sgt. Bennett W Longworth 35325379 POW 450BS
MACR/Accident Report # 5650 Aircraft Model: B-26B-4 S/N # 41-18090. Organization: Location-AAF Station 485 Command or AAF/AF-9th AF; Group-322nd Bomb Gp. (M); Squadron- 452nd Bomb Sq. Place of Departure- AAF Station 468; Target or Intended Destination- Imjuiden, Holland; Type of Mission- Bombing; Date: 17 May/43; Time:1050 Location of Crash: Unknown; Reason Aircraft was Lost: Unknown Number of persons aboard aircraft: Crew-6 Passengers-0 Total-6
Lt. Edward Norton was pilot of one of the six bombers in the fast flight. His brother flew as his co-pilot. As they approached the target at Ijmuiden, The Netherlands, they meet heavy flak, which seriously damaged the aircraft. Nevertheless, the B-26 completed its mission. It turned toward home but went down in the North Sea. The crew was listed as missing in action. Sixty men from the aircraft on the mission failed to return. One survivor eventually turned up as a prisoner of war.
On May 19, Dr. and Mrs. Norton received first one dreaded message and then a second. “Missing in action.” A pall fell over the whole town. For months there was no further word. Eventually Dr. Norton discovered that the bomber had gone down over the North Sea. In September 1945 he learned from the mayor of Haarlem, The Netherlands, that the body of James washed ashore July 26, 1943. He is buried in the military cemetery at Margraten, Holland. His brother’s body was never found.
SOURCE MATERIAL: www.b26.com